Name: Don Opeloge
Weight Category: -96kg
Personal Bests: Snatch 164kg | Clean & Jerk 210kg
In Samoa, weightlifting is now the number one sport and the Opeloge is pretty famous! Don Opeloge is one of an impressive number of his family who participate in the sport of weightlifting. His aunt Ele, for one, is a 2008 & 2012 Olympic medallist. In fact, a quick look over the Samoan weightlifting records flags up many famiy members!
Not only does Don hold the previous 85kg category National records, he also holds the current 89kg and 96kg National records! His current numbers as a 96kg competitior are an awesome 164/210/374kg!
Last year his Gold medal at the Junior World Championship was the first Samoan medal at an IWF World Championship! He also had a fantastic time at the 2020 Australian Open, where he set National records, placed first and also put a huge 13kg on his previous best competition total! With 2019 being his last year as a Junior lifter, we think that with his trajectory of improvement he will certainly be one to watch over his Senior career!
We spoke to Don recently, here is what we found out!
CS: How old were you when you started weightlifting and what was your inspiration to try it?
Don: I started training with my team in 2013 -2014, then in 2015 when I was 15 years old I first entered a Commonwealth competition that was held in Fiji. From that competition I got a Bronze medal! When I received that award I didn’t want to take it off!! That first award inspired me to push myself and aim higher!
CS: How popular is weightlifting as a sport in Samoa?
Don: Weightlifting is now known as the “TOP” sport in Samoa, as it has the highest rank of gold medals out of all the sports!
CS: Do you have a lot of support from your family and friends?
Don: My family is my huge & number one supporter! Especially my parents who motivate me and most of all my coach who provides me with financial support. Lastly my friends who encourage me to strive for the best.
CS: What has been your most difficult and your favourite times so far in your career?
Don: The most difficult times that I had was when I had to prepare for competitions. We normally have extra heavy trainings & have to cut down kg’s. Usually I miss two meals a day! My favourite time is when we finish our competitions because all we do is light trainings and we get to eat whatever we want to!
CS: Do you focus much on diet and nutrition for your performance?
Don: Yes! Before competitions, as I said before that we have to miss 2 meals a day we eat a lot of veggies and fruits.
CS: What is your training schedule? How many times a week do you train & what do you do to relax in your time off?
Don: My training schedule is from Monday to Friday, we normally have 3 trainings a day and it’s not easy! After trainings I listen to music that’s what I do on my leisure times
Check out Don's squat double at 270kg in the video to the left!
CS: Do you have any role models or teams that you look up to, who do you enjoy watching at competitions?
Don: I have heaps of role models from other countries. I love watching them when they compete in tough competitions that also motivates me. I have 2 role models from China's weight lifting team: Lü Xiaojun & Shi Zhiyong and Meso Hassona (Faris Ibrahim) from Qatar! I love watching them during trainings and competitions!
CS: Who is your coach and what is the best advice they have given you?
Don: My coach is TUAOPEPE ASIATA JERRY WALLWORK, he’s always the one who controls our National team the best advice that he has given me is "Winners never QUIT and QUITTERS never win"!!
CS: Where has been your favourite place you have travelled for a competition and why?
Don: My favorite place from all the places that I travelled to for competitions is Australia, the reason why is because they provide us good with accomodation and food and even transport!
CS: What are your top tips for young people wanting to make a start in weightlifting?
Don: My tips for young generations who want to start training are:
Lift an appropriate amount of weight and start with a weight you can lift comfortably 12 to 15 times
Improve their nutrition
We would like to thank Don Opeloge for taking his time to have this chat with us! We can't wait to see his progress and watch him lift in his next competitions.
- Team Canterbury Strength